$50,000 in copper wire stolen from power lines in Marion County

Thieves have stolen more than $50,000 in copper wire from Duke Energy power lines in Marion County, according to Sheriff Mark Richardson.

The thefts happened between Saturday and Thursday.

Wire was stolen from power lines at Highway 301 and Blue Brick Road and in the Rains Community near Rains-Centenary Elementary School.

Richardson says the thieves may have bogged down in the mud at the Highway 301 and Blue Brick Road site and were pulled out with a tractor.

One Duke Energy spokesman told WPDE NewsChannel15 that a copper theft of this magnitude is hazardous in several ways.

"It's also very serious from the safety standpoint, because most of the time, the copper wire is grounded in the equipment. And it's not only dangerous, not only for thieves to go because they can be badly burned or in some cases even, you know, hurt very badly, but it's also dangerous for our line crews, when they go out and work on a piece of equipment that doesn't have the ground," said Peter Brooks.

Brooks also said copper theft costs the company extra money, because they have to replace the wire. In turn, the cost gets passed along to Duke Energy customers.

Sheriff's investigators have been checking scrap metal yards in the area and in other counties, but haven't had any luck.

Call the Marion County Sheriff's Office at (843) 423-8216 if you have any information.